Cruz brothers aim to turn over New Leaf
FORMER champion jockey Tony Cruz stole the Saturday night show at Sha Tin with a treble and he can continue in that winning vein in the first leg of the Double Trio when racing returns to Happy Valley tomorrow night.
Cruz partners New Leaf for trainer-brother Derek and the duo have been hitting the high spots recently with several good winners.
New Zealand four-year-old New Leaf has been an enigmatic type over the past couple of seasons but his past run had plenty of promise and he does seem to have followed up on that.
The step up in distance to 1,800 metres should suit New Leaf and the only deterrent tomorrow night is the extreme outside draw of 10. But international ace Cruz should be able to have him across and into some sort of a position before the tricky stable bend at the city track is negotiated.
New Leaf finished second to Diamond Coast last time out over 1,600 metres and had Miss Piggy just behind him in third spot. That form is excellent as Miss Piggy won in better company 10 days ago and Diamond Coast was responsible for an eye-catching run at the Valley recently.
The improver in this Class Three field could be the Darren Gauci-ridden Fortune Ring who returned after a long spell recently and finished fifth in the race won by Ocean Pride at the Valley.
Fortune Ring would be almost a good thing if the skies happened to open and we had soft ground but even on a solid surface he has definite claims over this trip given his most recent outing.
Former topliner Star Mark can also come into the reckoning. He had little luck in his last outing over a mile when he was caught wide and in trouble before finishing fourth to Prince Of Minstrel. There was only a length in it and the Brian Kan Ping-chee stayer should appreciate this trip.
The second leg is a trickier affair as it is for Class Three sprinters over the minimum 975-metre trip and few of these are proven winners at the distance.
Topweight Silent Majority makes plenty of appeal but he has drawn out wide in barrier eight and may have transit problems.
The Lawrie Fownes-trained Irene's Pet is very well drawn in barrier two and Rambo Tse Wai-ho will be suitably vigorous and could get the five-year-old home.
Mighty Mighty is resuming after a break and might go well fresh.
Lance O'Sullivan rides newcomer Able Monarch, who is by the fashionable sire Danehill. But his overseas form suggests that this minimum trip will be on the short side and much the same goes for Candle Friend who has failed over it in the past.
The mare Natural Talent has no form at the distance but California Prince, blinkered for the first time, does have speed.
He flopped last time over 1,200 metres but ran a good third down the straight 1,000 metres at his previous start and could do something here.